Imagine you’re a buyer looking for an agent. Where do you look? In the wake of the pandemic, the world has moved even more into the digital age. As the world changes post-COVID, it’s more imperative than ever; realtors ® have an established web presence.
Even more important, today’s buyer is much savvier than she was 10 years ago—Realtors ® need to shift their focus to evolve with today’s new buyer.
Old School Methods Are Still Important
The shift in digital methods of completing transactions has only made the human connection more important. Buyers still want to know they’re dealing with people, so postcards, hand-written notes, phone calls, and other farming techniques are even more valuable when used alongside digital tools.
That being said, if you’re a realtor® who doesn’t have a web presence, now is the time to increase web presence and build your online brand. There are many ways to build your online web presence or clean up the web presence that will help you attract more clients.
What Do Buyers Want?
According to a National Association of Realtors® recent study, buyers and sellers are very comfortable with tech. They can see themselves buying or selling a home without ever stepping foot inside.
In fact, buyers don’t even need realtors® to provide data on homes. All the data they need is already available online. So what do buyers want from their real estate professional?
The NAR study suggests that buyers need real estate agents to provide clarification of the data they find. 51% of buyers and 61% of sellers said, “an agent can help buyers glean more valuable information from online listings than buyers could uncover on their own.” (NAR Study, May 2020)
More than 60% of those surveyed also believe that agents “should work with sellers to provide more in-depth pictures/videos of properties than what buyers can find in online search portals.” (NAR Study, May 2020)
What Can Realtors® Do?
This information means that buyers and sellers expect their real estate agents to be tech-savvy local experts. It should also prove that buyers and sellers are looking for agents online as real estate professionals. They need to see an agent who looks comfortable in today’s online marketplace.
Boosting your online presence will assure both buyers and sellers that you are working with tech, you’re comfortable with how the marketplace is moving and evolving with modern services.
How Do I Start Building My Web Presence?
Don’t let the idea of building your web presence overwhelm you. It’s not as difficult as you might think. It would be best if you took it one step at a time.
You might even consider hiring a web presence management company, like The Website Marketing Pro, to create a plan for you. Or even manage all of your online marketing to get you where you need to be even faster.
Start With Social Media
First, make sure you have a business page on your social media platforms. Facebook, for example, will not allow you to run ads through a personal account. You have to have a business page set up to set up an ads manager account. So make sure you spend a little time creating a business page tailored to your professional contacts.
Once you’ve established your business page, start creating posts. Don’t overthink this. You want to connect with your audience on a personal level as well as on a professional level. Your posts should be around a 60/40 split of personal/professional posts.
When you get a listing, post that listing all over your social media platforms. Don’t be too salesy. No one wants to feel like you’re trying to sell them. Be fun and celebratory, instead.
Build a Website
This doesn’t have to be a big thing. Sure, your broker may provide a website for you, but it’s a good idea to have one that’s individually branded to you and only you. Your broker website is only branding the brokerage. You want to be able to stand out from all the other agents. Your own website will allow you to do that.
There are so many options available today if you want to build one yourself. WordPress is still the go-to for website building, but other sites like Wix.com and Squarespace.com, where you can put something together without knowing how to code. And it’s even a bit fun if you’re into that sort of thing.
Create a YouTube Channel
Many agents are nervous about getting on video. But one of the easiest and fastest ways you can build your brand and create that “know, like, and trust” factor is to let people see you live.
You don’t have to do live videos, but get comfortable getting on camera and creating videos that offer content. Buyers are constantly looking for information online, and if you’re putting yourself out there as your local area expert through video, you will definitely become the one who’s top-of-mind when they’re ready to reach out to a realtor®.
How Do I Maximize My Web Presence?
Buyers in today’s market are not looking for an agent to help them find a home. Not in the traditional sense, at least. Buyers today are looking for local authorities. They need agents who are community experts. They need to know what information is not in the online listings. They need a tour guide.
If you want to create a web presence that attracts buyers and sellers, you need to become that community expert. That’s not as difficult as you think. You know your area, you know what communities are where, you know about the restaurants around town. You know a lot more than you probably give yourself credit for.
Become the Community Expert
The best way to create an online web presence in today’s marketplace is to become your local area expert. Buyers and sellers agree that everything they need is available online. Most realtors® don’t even need to find listings for their clients these days. Buyers find their own listings.
Buyers and sellers are looking for someone who can tell them what all the data means. They need an interpreter. It’s true, all the information is available online, but buyers don’t know how to read them. They need real estate professionals who can explain what they’re looking at.
And buyers are looking for things that aren’t available in the online listings. They are looking for someone who can help them find what they’re looking for. They need someone who knows the area.
Fair Housing Laws have never been more important. And agents need to be mindful of skirting the line when buyers ask them specific questions. But there’s nothing wrong with helping buyers as a local expert.
As the community expert, you can share all the things about your town that a buyer can’t learn online. You can share about the local hair salon that everyone seems to love. You can provide tours of different neighborhoods through engaging videos. You can shoot videos from your favorite restaurants and hot spots to acclimate your buyers to the area. Share with them what life is like where you live.
Become a Niche Expert
Not only can you become an expert in your local city, but you can also provide so much value in your specific niche. For example, if you decide to specialize in military PCS moves, you can provide content informing buyers looking for information about military moves.
Think of all the questions a potential buyer would have in your niche. Create content that answers those questions. Taking the military move niche, you can answer many questions that the military person might have about the PCS process, VA home loan entitlements, Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), how to use it, etc. There’s no shortage of topics in the military move niche.
But that’s not the only one. Think of all the questions someone might have if they inherited a piece of real estate through probate. Most people don’t know the first thing they need to do in that situation. They will most likely turn to Google to find answers to their questions. You could easily be the realtor® that pops up with the answers to their questions.
Once you become the real estate agent that provides them the answers they’re looking for, how likely will they turn to you to help them with their real estate transaction?
The benefit of being the online agent providing answers is you’re automatically building a “know, like, and trust” factor. You’re creating an online persona and brand. That’s going to bring more buyers and sellers to you organically than all the farming you can do in any neighborhood anywhere.
It’s a Multi-Media Planet
The great thing is you can provide content to your audience in a multitude of ways. In today’s market, video is awesome. But’s it’s certainly not the only game in town.
Video creates the know, like, and trust factor because people feel like they’re talking to you directly. But, if a video seems a bit too much, another medium can provide the same sensation – podcasting.
Podcasting continues to gain popularity. Real estate agents have not jumped on this train as much, leaving some amazing opportunities for those agents who take advantage of the void. Flash briefings are a great way to regularly get a short message out quickly and easily to your audience.
And, of course, blogs are not losing ground. In fact, using blogs with proper SEO is one of the best ways to build your online presence. You can even curate content so that you’re not always having to create it yourself, making it a potent tool.
So Where Are Buyers Going?
According to NAR, buyers are still moving. The pandemic has not slowed down the need or desire to move. And sellers are enjoying record appreciation due to low inventory. So, where are buyers looking for homes?
Surveys show that many people, post-COVID, are looking to move away from the densely populated cities and seeking refuge in the suburbs. This makes homes in suburban areas a hot commodity today.
And 65% of buyers and sellers are agreeable with attending open houses as well as in-person viewings right now. So, even though there are limitations with some processes due to COVID, buyers and sellers are itching to move forward. That makes your web presence more important than ever if you plan to keep up with this market.
The Real Secret to Online Success
The secret is to niche down and decide who your target market really is. Be an expert in your community for that target market. For example, you can be the local area expert in your town for probate listings. You could be the agent known for real estate sales during a divorce. You can be the local area expert for military PCS moves. You can specialize in working with Millennials, or you can be the expert for the senior down-sizers.
You can choose any niche, but you must choose one. Be the local expert. Your future buyers are looking for experts like you to help them buy their next home. Establish yourself as that local expert online so that they can find you.
And sellers need an expert who knows how to market their home to those buyers. If you’re the agent buyers are finding online, then sellers know you can market to them.
Whether you’re marketing yourself to buyers or sellers, the market is shifting, and agents have to be able to pivot. Buyers and sellers are looking for an agent who knows how to use modern tech and trending marketing strategies. If you can separate yourself as the one who can do that successfully, both buyers and sellers will be attracted to you.
If you need help with building and establishing your web presence, we’re here to help. Check out all the ways we can help you build your online business on our website.
Need more local marketing tips? Check out our entire Guide to Local Marketing for Real Estate Professionals